Your Money My Life Goodbye

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1998 release. An opera commissioned by Bayerisher Rundfunk Munich's Hörspiel und Medienkunst department about an internationally renowned swindler, who almost took down the European and American banking system. Featuring the voices of Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jackie Humbert, and Joan La Barbara. Recorded and mixed by Tom Hamilton. Robert Ashley on the piece: "Your Money My Life Goodbye is one of forty-nine vocal-ensemble pieces of various lengths (from ten minutes to ninety minutes or more) that can be used in many kinds of combinations to make an opera for stage, for radio or for television. Any of the combinations go under the title of the 'opera,' The Immortality Songs. When any of the pieces are performed separately, as in Your Money My Life Goodbye for Bayerischer Rundfunk, they take their individual titles. I have finished seven of the compositions. It looks like a lifetime of work. Hence, the title. In all of the forty-nine compositions some aspect of the musical structure (or many aspects of the musical structure) derive directly from the English language of the libretto. This process of derivation can be secretive and arcane (the music based, for instance, on grammatical structures or on the probability of the recurrence of certain syllables) or, as in Your Money My Life Goodbye, open and obvious. I think that the open and obvious approach - in this case, matching the syllables of the English (and the German) to the rhythm of the title-line, and matching the voice choices to the occurrence of the 'characters' in the text - is a good solution to the 'light-hearted' nature of the text. The story is simple. A woman responds to an invitation to attend a high-school reunion by sending her son, because she is incapacitated for some unknown reason. In describing her son, we get the idea that he is a high-level 'intelligence agent' (a spy). A sort of James Bond character. The woman writes that her son's wife will not attend the reunion, because she is recently dead, either from suicide or murder. The son's wife is described in great detail from various newspaper articles. She was an internationally renowned swindler, who almost took down the European and American banking system. She was a successful entrepreneur. Your Money My Life Goodbye doesn't take this seriously at all. Everybody is crazy."